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How to avoid becoming a victim of email phishing scams.

Phishing-red

Avoiding becoming a victim of email phishing scams involves being vigilant and following some best practices to recognize and respond to phishing attempts.

Phishing is a cybercrime technique in which unsuspecting individuals are contacted via email, telephone or text message by someone posing as a legitimate business or reputable person.  The emails try to lure people into providing sensitive data such as personal information, banking and credit card details, or passwords.  

Here's how you can avoid falling for email phishing scams:

Verify the Sender

Check the sender's email address. Be cautious if the sender's address looks suspicious, contains misspelled words, or is from an unfamiliar domain. Be particularly vigilant of email addresses that impersonate trusted organizations or people – if you look closely there is usually a slight misspelling of the email address.

Never Trust Unsolicited Requests

Be skeptical of unexpected emails asking for personal or financial information. Legitimate organizations typically will never ask for such information via email. Verify the legitimacy of the request independently, preferably through official channels like the company's website or customer service.

Check for Spelling and Grammar

Phishing emails often contain spelling and grammatical errors. Be on the lookout for these signs.

Look for Generic Greetings

Generic greetings like "Dear Customer" or "Hello User" are often used in phishing emails. Legitimate organizations usually address you by name.

Hover Over Links

Before clicking on any links, hover your mouse pointer over them to see the actual web address the link leads to. Make sure it matches the official domain of the organization. Be cautious of shortened URLs, as they can obscure the true destination.

Don't Open Suspicious Attachments

Avoid opening email attachments or downloading files from unknown or unverified sources, as they could contain malware.

Beware of Urgent or Threatening Language

Phishers may create a sense of urgency or use threats to pressure you into taking immediate action. Be cautious of such emails and take time to verify the claims.

Use Email Filters and Anti-Phishing Tools

Enable email filters and anti-phishing tools provided by your email service provider to help detect and filter out phishing attempts.

Double-Check URLs and SSL Certificates

Ensure that the websites you visit have a secure connection by looking for "https://" in the URL and a padlock icon in the address bar. However, this alone is not foolproof, so other precautions are necessary.

Verify Requests for Personal Information

If you receive an email requesting personal or financial information, especially if it's from an organization, contact that organization directly through official channels to confirm the request's authenticity.

Regularly Update Your Email Password

Change your email password periodically and use a strong, unique password. Consider using a password manager for added security. Create complex and unique passwords for your online accounts. Consider using a password manager to help you generate and store these passwords securely.

Don't Ever Share Personal Information via Email

Avoid sending sensitive information like Social Security numbers, credit card details, or passwords via email.

As always, Keep your antivirus and anti-malware software up to date. Regularly update your operating system and other software to patch any security vulnerabilities.

By following these guidelines and remaining cautious, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling for email phishing scams. Phishers rely on the element of surprise and deception, so a skeptical and informed approach is your best defense.

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